Karnataka. Women farmers in Badami village oppose the acquisition of agricultural land for the airport | Hubballi News – Times of India

BAGALKOT: Land acquisition for the airport project in Bagalkot district is turning into a political landmine, with women engaged in agriculture in Halakurki village in Badami taluk taking cudgels against the government, opposing this decision. Most of the women resisting the move are from a Dalit community, and they denounce a proposal which, if implemented, would see more than a third of Halakurki village’s land subsumed for the airport – the government is eager to acquire 1,500 acres of land in a village spread over just 4,000 acres.
Although part of Badami taluk, the village is part of the Bilgi assembly seat, currently represented by Industry Minister Murugesh Nirani. Neelavva Naikar and Parvetevva Madar, among the women protesting the land acquisition, pointed out that almost 65% of those engaged in agriculture in Halakurki were from Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe communities.
“We grow two crops every year on our farms. The government issued a notification for the acquisition of 1,500 acres for the airport and for industrial purposes. The irony is that the government did not convene a gram sabha, nor was our opinion sought,” the two women told The Times of India.
Shankravva Udikeri, Akkamma Naikar, Fakiravva Madar said that Nirani assured the people to use the land for an irrigation project during his campaign for the 2018 parliamentary elections. They pointed out that a notification identifying part of the land for the construction of a canal for the Herakal Lift Irrigation Project had been released in January. The women said they had no complaints about parting with their land for the canal, as it would increase the village’s water supply. However, this sudden notification of 1,500 acres of land for the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board, without our prior notice, understandably made them furious.
An earlier plan to build Yaragoppa Inam airport and Tulasigeri villages was scrapped following opposition from local farmers, Hanumavva Hiretalawar, Huligevva Madar, Shekhavva Naikar and Paravva Madar said. Highlighting the pathetic state of the roads inside the village and those connecting Halakurki to nearby towns, the women said that while the airport would help attract industries, it would have little effect on their lives, given the torturous journey they must endure on the avenues riddled with potholes.
The loss of fertile land that farmers had cultivated together for centuries is another reason that has upset the women. Ambakka Naikar, Dyamavva Madar, Suvarna Madar, Yamanavva Madar and Ningavva Y Madar said almost half of the households in Halakurki would be left jobless if the government goes ahead with its land acquisition plan. “Elected officials keep telling us to become employers, not employees, in their speeches. But by giving away our land, they make us workers for private companies,” they lamented.
The women behind the struggle say they are determined to see it through, adding that they have been assured of the support of upper-caste farmers who are also reluctant to lose their land. Minister Nirani’s aides said he was in the United States of America and expected to return after October 15.

Amalia H. Mercado